Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Six Microsoft in the classroom ideas to try out this term...

As the third term springs to life in our classrooms, have you thought of adding any new technologies to your lessons or your professional development? Here are some useful Microsoft in the classroom ideas to try out this term.

1. Bring in some problem-based learning

Think about introducing problem-based learning in your classroom... based on a real South African problem. I experienced a project like this recently where we had to think about a South African problem to solve using the problem-based approach.  It was such a great way to tackle a problem in a group settting. If you want to know more about how to go about using the problem-based approach, there is a really good problem-based learning free course waiting for you on the Microsoft Educator Community. Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:
  • Understand the essential elements that make up a problem-based learning experience
  • Articulate the importance of problem solving in relation to higher order thinking and 21st century learning
  •  Describe the need for PBL to allow for self-led learning and self-determination in students
  • Recognize and implement each of the five PBL design principles in your planning
  • Identify the characteristics of authentic assessment and understand why these are better suited to assessing authentic learning
  • Apply theoretical assessment models to plan assessments that target the domains of knowing, thinking and doing

What could be better than that!

2.  Use Minecraft: Education Edition in your classroom

There are many ways to use Minecraft: Education Edition in the classroom. Go to https://education.minecraft.net/ for loads of ideas and lesson plans. But what I noticed recently is that a problem-based group project works really well when you have the opportunity to demonstrate the solution using Minecraft Education Edition! Apart from all the critical thinking, creativity and collaborative skills that come in to play, the use of Minecraft: Education Edition in a project brings an excitement with it because the learners are making something using a product that 21st century learners love! You can read about a problem-based project that was done using Minecraft: Education Edition here.

3. Get your  class doing the Hour Of Code on code.org 

Another idea is to get your class to try out the Hour of Code. Coding is one of the vital future skills that our learners need. The Hour of Code usually happens on a day in December as a world-wide event, but it can actually be done at any time of the year. It is part of www.code.org which has amazing free offerings for all age groups of students. There are a number of different Hour of Code games to choose from. Your students will love them!

4. Try out Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is one of Microsoft’s newest offerings for Office 365 users. Teams is a digital hub that brings conversations, content, and apps together in one place. Educators can create collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and communicate with school staff – all from a single experience in Office 365 for Education. Microsoft describes Teams as a 'chat-based workspace in Office 365'. Marius Pretorius on the Computer studies email group  highly recommends Teams. He says:says, “In particular, I would suggest that you test drive Microsoft’s new collaboration software called Teams – which is part of Office 365 for Education. The education version of Teams, which has some extra features, has just been released. It is replacing Microsoft Classroom and what a replacement! You’ve got to experience it yourself. It is totally different and yet makes use of all the skills you already have. It will revolutionise communication in your schools!” You can find out more about Microsoft teams on the Microsoft Educator Community here http://bit.ly/2uSZ9Zd

5. Get started with Microsoft's Story Remix on Windows 10

Many of us who use Windows 10 miss Windows Live Movie Maker. But all is not lost! Microsoft has brought out Story Remix, a new app that makes it easy for teachers and students alike to create videos in the classroom using photos, video clips, and music. Use it to show how a project came together, encourage collaborative storytelling, or inspire your students to present their findings in a new way. Then save your video, share it with the class, or add finishing touches like animated special effects or Windows Ink. Watch a YouTube video about Storymix here

6. Try Book Creator - it's free on Windows 10

 Talking of stories, did you know that Book Creator which was voted Best Educational App in the 2015 BETT Awards, is free on Windows 10? Book Creator is the simple way to make beautiful ebooks, right on your PC or Tablet. This Book creation app which is used in 80 countries is also available on Windows! With over 10 million ebooks created so far, Book Creator is ideal for making all kinds of books, including children's picture books, photo books, comic books, journals, textbooks and more. And when you're done, you can share your book with ease, or even publish it to online book stores! This is a must for exploring this term!

These are just a few ideas to try out in the third term. Have fun!

SchoolNet free webinar 'Trending in IT' by MIEExpert Tracy Heath on 27 July at 3:15pm

We are pleased to announce that our next free webinar, 'Trending in IT' will be held this coming Thursday 27th July at 3:15pm. Our speaker will be Tracy Heath, a Microsoft MIEExpert Educator from Joburg. She is the ICT teacher for the Primary School at Brescia House School, a Microsoft Showcase School, in Johannesburg, Gauteng. She has been teaching ICT for more than 13 years. Tracy was one of three teachers in South Africa selected to attend the Microsoft E2 Global Exchange in Budapest in 2016.

Tracy recently returned from the ISTE conference which is the  biggest Ed Tech conference in the world. This year it was held in San Antonio in TExas. Tracy says that she learnt a huge amount. One of her big take aways from ISTE is taking responsibility for personal learning and belonging to groups that can help one's learning path. Tracy is eager to share some of what she learned in the upcoming webinar which she has titled, " Trending in IT."

Webinar details
Webinar title: Trending in IT - Reflections from ISTE 2017
Presenter: Tracy Heath, MIEExpert, ICT teacher for the Primary School at Brescia House School, a Microsoft Showcase School, in Johannesburg, Gauteng.
SummaryTracy says: "I was privileged to attend ISTE 2017 in San Antonio, Texas and was blown away by the positive and excited educators that I met there. There were over 1100 sessions to attend and so much to see and learn. My presentation will be on the general trends in education that I saw while at ISTE.  I will cover coding, AR, VR, libraries and the maker movement as well as touching on professional development."
Date: Tuesday 27th July, 3:15pm
Duration: 15-30 minutes
Host: Fiona Beal
To join the online meetinghttp://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/iste/ 

Even if you have attended an Adobe Connect meeting before you may need to install a free add-in. To investigate this, test your connection: http://bit.ly/2kcJiiH

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Minecraft: Education Edition - The #SmallSouthAfrica #Minecraftedu map created by Stephen Reid is finished

Recently in Joburg, the Microsoft Education Exchange (E2) Africa Forum bought together almost sixty MIE Experts and representatives of Microsoft Schools for two days of hands-on learning, networking, and trying out some of the latest Microsoft tools at the Microsoft offices in Bryanston. One of the highlights of the event was a keynote on Problem-Based Learning presented by Stephen Reid from Immersive Minds in Scotland. Stephen introduced teachers to the basics of Minecraft in the context of developing a group work project which involved coming up with a South African problem and then modeling a solution in a Small South Africa Minecraft world.

Stephen Reid presenting a keynote on problem-based learning and Minecraft

The #SmallSouthAfrica #Minecraftedu map is finished

Stephen recently created a post on his Immersive Minds Facebook profile entitled ‘Our #SmallSouthAfrica #Minecraftedu map is finished”. He says: “Designed to accompany our Microsoft #ProblemBasedLearning course on the Microsoft Educator Community (https://education.microsoft.com/…/co…/problem-based-learning) we've used the map with teachers from all over Africa to explore some of the prime issues facing South Africa today. So far we've see it used to explore:
  • Ethical mining practices
  • Clean water access
  • Urban development and social housing
  • Education for girls
  • Tax expenditure
  • Xenophobia
  • Human rights
  • Conservation and animal rights
  • and more
Minecraft can be used as a powerful tool for critical and creative thinking in social, economic and environmental issues and in developing awareness and empathy beyond the curriculum.

The map includes:
  • A diamond mine
  • A coastal area, including discoloured water 
  • A game reserve including a cheetah, warthog, buffalo, termite mounds and hyena dens. 
  • A city model, including some key historical buildings from Jo'burg and Cape Town
  • An informal settlement 
  • Lion's Head Mountain 
  • A replica of the Ndebele village.
As with all Minecraft resources the map can be changed in any way and can be extended beyond the walls seen in the images.

The map will be available for download soon via https://education.minecraft.net/"

Here are a couple of the images from Stephen's Facebook post:

Computer4Kids and Minecraft
Contact Computer4Kids in South Africa to find out more about using Minecraft: Education Edition in your classroom. They provide Minecraft: Education Edition training and have created some great Minecraft: Education Edition learning resources for you to use in your classroom.  Currently Computers4Kids is running a Minecraft: Education Edition competition which closes on 17 September. Why not encourage your students to enter this competition? 

Complete the free course on problem-based learning on the Microsoft Educator Community
The free problem-based learning course, which is available on the Minecraft Education Community, can be accessed here. Problem-based learning (PBL) has become an integral part of the 21st century classroom. When students are faced with solving ill-structured, open-ended, messy problems, they are pushed to think more critically and work collaboratively. Many Microsoft tools help support problem-based learning. This course has been developed to help you understand what PBL is and how to plan and implement a problem-based learning experience in your classroom.

To view one of the problem-based learning projects which used Minecraft: Education Edition  to demonstrate a solution, (done at the E2 in Joburg),  visit our blog here 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #112

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week. The list is embedded below but can also be found at http://bit.ly/2uckiNb The link to the back-dated posts is: http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ

Monday, 17 July 2017

MIEExpert Spotlight #29: Moses Sello Sehoole from Limpopo - Using Microsoft resources as a school principal

MIEExpert Moses Sello Sehoole is a secondary school principal who displays great ambition,
determination and drive. In 2008 he was head-hunted and recruited as principal of Mankuroane Technical and Commercial High School school because of his achievements as principal at his previous school. Mankuroane Technical and Commercial High School school is situated in a deep rural area in Taung, Limpopo. Moses immediately set to work to upgrade the school's technology. In 2010 he applied to the national lottery for funding to build workshops and purchase computers. This was granted in 2011. As part of the business plan 60 computers were purchased for curriculum delivery. As a result the Engineering, Graphics and Design pass rate improved to the current 100% pass rate.

Moses was selected to attend Microsoft's E2 Teacher Exchange in Budapest in 2016
Moses attended the, Microsoft Education Master Training on ICT integration in teaching and learning in 2015, and it was here that he learned about the Microsoft Innovative Expert Program. He adds proudly that, “On the 16th November 2015 I was announced as Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, joining the more than 5,600 educators in the MIE program worldwide. I was excited and happy to see that my efforts to integrate technology in classroom were recognized.” In 2016 Moses was selected as one of three educators who represented South Africa at the Microsoft Teacher Exchange (E2) in Budapest in 2016. This experience greatly impacted him. He found that it was awesome achievement because he learned to collaborate, be creative and think out of the box. He adds, "The lesson plan that is driven by technology is lively and exciting because it acknowledges individual uniqueness and independent thinking.”

Moses Sello Sehoole’s success story doesn’t stop there. In 2008 and again in 2011 he was nominated to participate in the South African National Teaching Awards for Excellence in Secondary School Leadership. He reached the provincial level on both occasions, which was a great achievement for him and the school. In 2016 he was nominated again to participate in the 17th National Teaching Awards and he went on to reach national level.

Moses's use of Microsoft  tools at his school
Moses makes extensive use of Microsoft tools at his school. He uses Sway to present his lessons to some of his classes. He uses Office Mix to give notes to his learners in Grade 10. When Moses became a Certified Microsoft Innovative Educator, he went a step further and started to empower his learners to develop their ICT skills in the classroom. He encouraged them to also apply these to their daily learning. “In 2016, I started engaging my Grade 10 learners to use Microsoft tools for themselves. I taught them how to do research, to collaborate and presenting their work to one another.”

The benefits of using ICT integration
Moses finds that the benefits of using ICT integration in his classes are evident. “Using Microsoft tools makes learning more interesting and fun for my learners and helps them to remember and recall better. The class performance improved a lot because of their professional looking work using a desktop computer. We used to have only a few learners progressing from Grade 10 to 12 but since we started integrating Microsoft technology into our daily teaching and learning, I am delighted to see more and more learners successfully progressing from one grade to another.” Moses is of the opinion that learners are independent thinkers, who no longer desire to simply consume information but who would rather participate actively in various projects with excitement because of technology. He has noticed that his learners’ self-esteem, self-awareness and growth has improved as a result of the technology integration using Microsoft tools.

Moses helps train the teachers at his school
The teachers have also benefited from training in ICT integration. “As a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, I trained about 30 teachers on how to integrate ICT in their daily teaching and learning. After training they are required to use the ICT skills acquired in daily teaching and learning.” The training continued in 2017 when the Department of Education entered into a partnership with the University of Witwatersrand to present a three months’ workshop for selected teachers in using ICT integration in daily teaching and learning. This workshop afforded Moses an opportunity to showcase his ICT skills as he was appointed as an ICT Champion to teach some of the topics.

Find out more about becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert 
MIE Experts are part of an exclusive Microsoft program created to recognize global educator visionaries who are using technology to improve teaching and learning. Outstanding MIE Experts
from South Africa and Lesotho are selected to attend Education Exchange (E2) events both locally and internationally; they participate in webinars to boost their own skills; they feature in case studies, blogposts and webinars; and they are part of a local and international community of teachers who share ideas and best practices.If you would like to be a part of this exciting program we invite you to view the Microsoft Educator Expert page on the Microsoft Educator Community to find out more and to apply for the next intake.